‘African Start-Up’ this week profiles Leti Arts, one of the continent’s foremost video game developers who are investing into Africa’s digital economy, most recently with a branch in Nairobi, Kenya.
Founded in 2009 by Eyram Tawia, Leti Arts creates and develops online comics and mobile games based on African folklore.
(TOP: Eyram Tawia, founder of Leti Arts, a video game development firm based in Ghana).
Tawia explains to ‘African Start-Up’ how Leti Arts’ games can help assist in the education of the continent’s history: “Africa has a really strong chance to change our narrative, and this is what our African legends are going to do for us – bring our rich culture into the 21st century.”
Since launching their first game three years ago, the company now employs eight full-time members of staff, and is attempting to make their mark in an industry dominated by Western developers.
Tawia outlines Leti Arts’ strategy and the potential challenges of expansion to ‘African Start-Up’: “It’s a whole new industry that we are building. We believe that gaming is going to boost the GDPs of most African countries when it is embraced because everyone has a mobile phone, everyone texts, smartphones are increasing, middle-classes are increasing – gaming is the future.”
Despite being aided by US $100,000 from a tech incubator, one of the greatest challenges facing Leti Arts is identifying skilled staff to employ, as game development is rarely taught in schools.
The company is now training its own developers, as Tawia explains to ‘African Start-Up’: “I don’t have any formal game education. Self-taught, self-taught, it’s just passion. We are the pioneers and we will live with that. But we need to create a structure for people who are coming now.”
Leti Arts’ investment in Africa’s digital economy has been rewarded with an annual turnover of $165,000, which has allowed for the company’s expansion into Nairobi. Many of Levi Arts’ profits have come as a result of selling add-ons to games and creating bespoke training games for commercial and NGO clients.
Looking to the future, Tawia reveals to ‘African Start-Up’: “Our immediate plan is the game, ‘Africa’s Legend: Reawakening’, then the rest with follow from there, to actually grow this franchise into a global franchise! I want to see DC and Marvel comics license some of our characters for their African movies.”